Those Top Ten Fruits & Vegetables To Grow In Your Back Yard
The fashionable movement to grow your own food is constantly on the increase.
But it is not just a fashion or a fad, it makes such good health sense too.
Here are the top ten that you might find easier and satisfying to grow for yourself
- Carrots are rich in vitamin A and an excellent source of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, luteolin, falcarinol and other flavanoids that prevent chronic inflammation. Children love to grow them too. Drill a hole in the soil around half an inch deep with a trowel and sow seeds two inches apart. Cover with good soil and water regularly.
- Blackberries (below)are low in calories and fat but super rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants and and antibacterial properties. The anthocyanins found in blackberries have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, helping to combat conditions such as arthritis. Buy a pot grown plant that is established so that you can plant it out to train against a wall or fence for support. Thornless varieties are available to make it easier and painless to pick!
- Arugula (or Rocket) makes a great salad crop. This popular and aromatic plant is very low in calories but very high in vitamins A and C. If you live in a hot sunny climate, choose a slightly shady spot before sowing seeds thinly in a drill, covering with soil and keeping them watered. If you sew new seed every two weeks, you can have a harvest throughout summer and autumn.
- Blackcurrants (below) are a very rich source of vitamin C and are high in antioxidants to help protect our bodies from damage caused by harmful free radicals. With low maintenance and being easy to grow, blackcurrant bushes virtually look after themselves although birds will sometimes want to share the crop. Buy ready grown in a pot so you can plant it out by digging a hole twice as wide as the root ball. Place the bush a couple of inches deeper than how it was presented in the pot. Cover the area with a compost mix and pack in firmly.
- Watercress (below) is right back in fashion and packed with vitamin K and calcium. If you don’t have your own personal stream running through your back yard (and not many of us do!), you can grow watercress in the ground, in a pot or as a sprout. Sow the seeds in a shallow trench that is about four inches deep and cover with a sprinkling of soil. They need lots of water and if you plant it in a pot, sit it in a tray that you keep filled with water and remember to flush out the pot thoroughly with water weekly.
- Kale (below) is a powerful super food and really good for giving you vitamin K as well as vitamins C and A. Part of the brassica family, kale is the easiest to grow. Often considered to be the forgotten vitamin, vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity and bone health. Strengthening the composition of our bones, vitamin K also prevents calcium build-up in our tissue. Vitamin K is essential for synthesizing , the fat needed to maintain the myelin sheath around our nerves and our nervous system as a whole.
- Beets (or beetroot as they are known in the UK) are one of our favourites and we grow rows of these every year for a great source of folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Beets love a good rich fertile soil, sunshine and regular water to get them going. Delicious as a salad with vinegar or roasted.
- Parsley (below) is often dismissed as just a garnish when it is actually another super food rich in vitamins C, A and K as well as folate and iron. It is also a diuretic that flushes out the urinary system to detoxify and cleanse your body. Grow in a pot in partial shade or in the back yard or on a window ledge with some sunlight and regular watering.
- Cherry tomatoes are the healthiest way to enjoy a snack on the run. Rich in vitamin C and lycopene, they are great in all types of meals whether raw or cooked. Bush-type cherry tomatoes don’t need too much pinching out and can easily be bought as young plants to pot on or use in hanging baskets. Feed and water regularly. And keep picking!
- Brussel sprouts (below) are high in folic acid and fiber with lots of vitamin C. They are very popular in the UK to serve with Christmas dinner. They are a winter crop with the best flavor when after the first frost. Plant seeds in an area where they will be exposed to sunlight but protected from strong winds. The plants grow quite big so need to be spaced around two feet apart. It is best to feed Brussels sprouts in July with a high-nitrogen fertilizer.
Although it can be economical and money-saving to grow your own produce, it is not necessarily so but any costs are easily outweighed by so many other factors. You are out in the fresh air, you have regular exercise, you enjoy the best type of chemical-free organic food and you get real satisfaction from the whole process of growing your own.
The UK is a nation of gardeners – and vegetable and fruit growers. This is why allotments are so popular. Start a new hobby and get hooked on the pleasure and enjoyment of growing some of your own food…
Many of the photos above were taken by me on our allotment this week.